I was walking out of my sister’s office this morning past several quotes printed in bright ink and mounted on matching cardstock. My nieces, who work there also, have scattered inspirational words all over the office and I thought, “We are a family of quoters”. And for the first time, and it’s weird that this was the first time (is it really the first time?), I thought of how it all started with our Dad.
I was at my parents’ house about once a week throughout my adult life, and more often as they got older. Several times a month there would be a clipping of a social commentary cartoon from the newspaper or some inspirational words from the church bulletin posted on the refrigerator or laid out on the table. He cut out things that made him laugh or seemed especially relevant to something going on in the family. A lot of times his clippings were personal, cut out specifically for me or one of my siblings. Given that there were so many of us, it was always amazing that he knew which words would speak to which child. When it came time to create photo boards for his funeral several of us naturally, without even talking about it, collected quotes that made us think of him and helped us to show our love and gratitude for his life.
I’ve been writing words I collect from my reading on the White Board outside my house for 5 years now and today was the first time I really connected that work to my Dad. He was the reason I started the board in the first place (the first word was simply “Hope” after his cancer diagnosis) but I didn’t give him the credit he really deserves. My Dad wasn’t a big reader (well, he did read 2 newspapers every day) but his word collection showed me the value, the power, of words strung thoughtfully together and shared.
And now that I’ve thought about it, I realize the tradition in strong all over my family. My sister has words to inspire relaxation posted around her beach house. My brother peppers his conversation with poignant quotes remembered from his reading.
And here is the wall of my daughter’s bedroom. Her grandfather would be proud.
So, here’s a clipping for you, Dad. I don’t need scissors to collect my words, but I’ll share them just like you.